Printer Driver Fun

I bought my new Brother HL-2270DW laser last week and had to set it up. With the need to print something quickly, I plugged my MacBook Air into a USB cable, plugged that into the printer, and wondered what would happen. I had a CD with the printer, but the MBA doesn’t have a CD drive.

To my pleasant surprise, OSX identified the printer, made a quick search and told me it was downloading a driver inside of 10 sec. A minute later the driver installed itself, added the printer, and when I clicked print from Acrobat, I had a printed document.

OSX score: 10.

That’s miles beyond the hassles I’ve had with Windows machines in the past, but I was curious. I grabbed my old Windows 7 laptop, plugged the USB cable into it, and to my surprise it identified the printer, found a driver, and installed it. I was printing a couple minutes later.

Windows 7 (direct) score: 10

What about remote access? I had configured the printer for my network and went over to my desktop running Windows 7. I searched for the printer, and it was found on the network immediately. However when I clicked “find driver”, Windows was unable to find a driver. Strange, since the model of printer was identified by the OS.

I manually added the driver from the CD and the printer worked immediately.

Windows 7 (remote) score: 6

What about remote on OSX? I went to the kid iMac and added a printer there. The printer was identified on the network, and once I clicked “add”, the driver was downloaded and installed

OSX (remote) score: 10

So far it seems Windows is still iffy with printer drivers, and I’m not sure why. The various hardware configs shouldn’t matter if the OS can identify the printer. It should go find the driver.

I’m not sure why now, after decades of printing we can’t just have printers work with our operating systems, but I’m hoping at some point this will be rectified.

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